Tuesday 25 November 2014

Santa's Snow Grotto at Chill Factore, Manchester

We were fortunate enough to review Santa's Snow Grotto at the Chill Factore in Trafford Park, Manchester last year, and it was absolutely awesome, so we were more than happy when they invited us to revisit this year and see how it has changed. Happily I can report it's barely changed a bit - in fact it looks even better!

Santa's Snow Grotto Chill Factore review

The biggest difference and something we haven't seen before at the Chill Factore was the queues. They were clearly overwhelmed by the number of people who chose Sunday to visit, and despite all the staff running about and being incredibly efficient, the sheer volume of people meant we were a bit late for our 4-5pm slot.

Chill Factore foyer with gorgeous Christmas tree

Part of the reason for the extra visitors could have been the character in the foyer - Peppa Pig was visiting for the day, and she was incredibly popular with the younger visitors.

Suited and booted, everyone was ready to go at 4.30. I sat out on this occasion and my 16 year old son went to play in the snow with my partner and the 2 younger boys.

Ready for the snow park and santa visit at Chill Factor
The Snow Play Mini Moose Land at Chill Factore Christmas 2014

The Snow Park Christmas decorations are gorgeous.  There are trees all around Mini Moose Land and there is a huge wrapped 'present' which houses the grotto.

Santa's grotto decorated as a giant present
 Santa's grotto decorated as a giant present at chill Factore, Manchester

You can decide whether to see Santa first or second, and then under 4's get 30 minutes play in Mini Moose Land, over 4's get a 1 hour Snow Park Pass for sledging, tubing and the luge (6+ only).

The snow play tubing, sledging and luging at Chill Factore in Trafford Park

Our 4 year old was really excited when we told him he was going to Chill Factore, and was up and dressed by 7am - I'd had no idea he loved it so much.

My family were playing before seeing Santa, and it's the first time our 4 year old has spent his time in the Snow Park - and he loved it!

Snow Play for 6 year olds at Chill Factore in Manchester

Snow Play for over 4 year olds at Chill Factore in Manchester

Snow Play luge for over 6 year olds at Chill Factore in Manchester

Snow Play 4 year old sledging at Chill Factore in Manchester

Our 4 year old managed 40 minutes, and the 6 year old was ready to get changed after 45 minutes. Although it's not actually cold as long as you keep your gloves on, it's really tiring walking in the snow wearing all the gear, and is excellent exercise.

Queue to see Santa at Chill Factor

The queue to see Santa stretched as far back as the big Christmas tree, and it took us over an hour, but the staff are all lovely, there were candy canes handed out regularly to everyone, and there are loads of toys and drawing activities for children to do while the adults save the spot in the queue.

Christmas blossom tree

Once you reach the gorgeous white blossom tree, and the lit archway, you are nearly there. My children were not going to stand still for a photo by now - they were far too excited!

Christmas archway with giant elf

And then it's in to see Santa. He was great. Last year we definitely saw THE Santa, this year was about as good as I'd ever expect. He was attentive and patient, didn't rush us at all, and chatted with the children with a huge friendly smile the whole time.

The grotto is gorgeous, and being in the snow does make it very special. Santa has a big fireplace, so it isn't cold for him sitting there all day, and he clearly enjoys his job very much. 

Chill Factore Santa photo's

You aren't allowed your own photo's, and while I feel that Chill Factore's are fair value for money, and I love the snow 'globe', the quality of ours was shocking. I have complained and they are looking into it. It's to do with the flash positioning I think, everything comes out red and yellow and there isn't enough light, so it's actually blurry. You can still see the smiles though - and annoyingly the bunny ears - pesky children, they'll be sorry when they're grown up and I show this to their children...

Chill Factore Santa gifts

Santa gave my children some lovely gifts which they're very happy with, and so am I. The queues were forgotten, the staff absolutely lovely and we all had a great time. Good memories made.

I think if you visit at a busy time (such as a Sunday afternoon when Peppa Pig is there), you'll have to expect queues and should allow an extra hour or so just in case, but Santa will be around every day in December from 10am until 7pm - including Christmas Eve.

To find out all you need to know, see the Chill Factore website.  

Prices start at £15 for an adult and child under 4 to visit Santa and play in Mini Moose Land, and for an adult and child over 4 to play in the snow park for an hour and visit Santa costs £40. Advance booking really is advised. Snowsuits can be hired at additional cost, or brought with you. Gloves MUST be worn, and boots are supplied free of charge for everyone visiting.

We were given free entry for 2 adults and 2 children to the Snow Park and visit with Santa in return for a review.


  1. We had great fun too, I think it was just exceptionally busy this weekend as we had a significant queue too. It's well set up to avoid the little ones getting bored though, which is brilliant.

  2. Looks like you had a great time, I think they manage the crowds and queues really well. It was E's first time in the Snow Park this weekend too I thought she's be overwhelmed but she loved it!

  3. I've never been to Chill Factore and had no idea there was so much to do for little people. I presumed it was just for older ones. It's a bit far for us but I would love to go as part of a weekend away - it looks great fun! x

  4. This sounds great and the perfect Christmas Santa experience. It is great there is plenty for younger children to do rather than having to just queue.

  5. I love the idea of mixing a visit to Santa with an activity at the same time.


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I read every one and try my best to reply!